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So you’re in a wedding this year, and your friend asks you to give a toast at it. What a compliment! Pat yourself on the back, because you must be a pretty special human. Of course, you’re only feeling flattered for about one minute before the reality sets in: you’re going to be getting up in front of a group anywhere from 50 to 200 people, trying to put a couple’s love into words, all while potentially holding both a microphone and a champagne glass. Sweating profusely just thinking about it? Totally normal. If you’re wondering how to give a wedding toast at a friend’s wedding, you’re not alone.

Lucky for you, there are some very simple tips you can follow that will guarantee your speech is a crowd-pleaser. Before breaking down the art of what makes a great wedding speech, consider what makes a terrible toast. Think back to some of the more cringe-worthy performances you’ve witnessed. Long-windedness, cheesy jokes, any form of sexual innuendo, and a drunken speech-giver might come to mind. These things usually translate to a solid thumbs down for any toast.

Now that you’re reminded what makes an epic fail of a toast, simply do the opposite. Here are some simple tips to ensure your speech is worthy of being saved on iPhones for years to come. (No pressure!)

1. Keep It Short And Sweet

Shakespeare said that, “brevity is the soul of wit,” and this definitely applies to your toast. While you don’t need to take any other pages from Shakespeare’s book — Elizabethan English is probably not the vibe you’re looking for — you should keep your speech short. Really short. Start by writing out a first draft, and editing the speech down from there. Make sure to practice timing yourself. The speech should be no longer than five minutes.

2. Be Specific To The Couple

It’s easy to talk about love in general terms, but it’s much more moving if you can talk about specifics relevant to the couple du jour. Talk about why Jess and John are perfect for each other, not just why love is love is love.

3. Remember To Introduce Yourself

At the top of your toast, don’t forget to explain who you are to the bride and groom, bride and bride, or groom and groom. Once you’ve introduced yourself and which partner you’ve known longer, you can give a little information on what you love about your friend, too.

4. Don’t Rush Through It

Yes, keeping your speech succinct is important, but you don’t want to let nerves take over and plow through this special moment. Practice with friends, take deep breaths throughout, and make sure to take your eyes off the page so that you can connect with the couple and the other guests.

5. Make Sure There Is One Moment For Laughter

You don’t need to be Chris Rock to give an excellent speech, but it’s nice to include a funny anecdote for guests to laugh at. Chances are, there will be many tears flowing during the more serious parts of your speech, so giving everyone a moment of respite to chuckle over the groom’s grooming habits or whatever else is a great move. Just don’t go overboard on the jokes! Remember, you’re not Chris Rock.

Written by: Kimmy Foskett

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